NORFOLK (NNS) -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) got underway for a special cruise for friends and family members of Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier May 2.
"It's great to see everybody out here to experience what their loved ones do on this ship," said Capt. Andrew J. Loiselle, commanding officer of George H.W. Bush. "The families play a critical role in the ship's mission through all the support they give to the crew. I always tell my Sailors, 'It doesn't matter if you're married or not, everyone has a mother or cousin or someone back home who supports them and loves them,' and it's great so many of you were able to come in person today."
Many of the guests who came aboard were military veterans. Even those with prior Navy service found George H.W. Bush impressive.
"I served from 1965 to 1967 on the USS Prairie," said Don Kaiser, a retired machine accountant. Our ship was pretty big, but this is much bigger. This ship is like a city unto itself."
Parents enjoyed the experience of getting to see where their sons and daughters work and live while underway.
"It's been the experience of a lifetime," said Leslie Kaiser, grandmother of Hospitalman Amanda Myers. "Our granddaughter is attached to the Black Lion squadron in their medical department. We got to see their ready room and learn about how the planes and the pilots work, and hearing all of that before the airshow was very meaningful."
The airshow was the highlight of the cruise. Families got to see the Navy's aircraft in action.
"It was very impressive, I really liked all of it," said Lisa Barger, stepmother of Aviation Machinist's Mate 1st Class Eric Barger. "I loved the final formation when they all flew together. And even though I knew it was coming, the supersonic plane still made me jump."
George H. W. Bush is currently homeported at Norfolk Naval Station.
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For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.